When harvesting fennel, we’ve learned to leave the taproots in place, which sprout again for a second and sometimes third harvest. These baby bulbs went immediately into a pot of chicken braised in milk, along with their fronds and a handful of lemon thyme, and a dash of warming nutmeg.
By late fall, the fennel is at its fullest expression. We let it flower to provide food for pollinators at a time when blooms are scarce.
This year, we remembered to save some of the pollen for ourselves. We gathered up enough flower heads to fill a couple of bags, and left them to dry. Instead of a paper bag, we used a glassine one, the better to see if anything was really happening. The yield is somewhat like saffron, not a tremendous amount, though enough to flavor pasta with.
After the pollen drops, the flowers transform themselves into seed heads. We like to nibble on them while they’re still green, and collect the seeds once they’ve dried.
Fennel, chicory (catalogna endive), tatsoi, kale, chard, salad greens, and apples.
Preserving: Fermenting Curtido (Salvadorean Sauerkraut).